Lifebits

Day’s Verse:
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.
1 Cor. 16:13-14

I’ve had a blog post open and partly written for days. That’s why I haven’t updated my blog in such a long time — I’m halfway through a post and I keep trying to squeeze it out, but you know, you just can’t rush some things. So in the meantime, I thought I’d post a quick update on all those meaningless things that make life meaningful.

I just read a fascinating book called Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, which expands on an article of the same name in the Atlantic Monthly. There’s a blog post brewing in me somewhere about that book. Some main things I came away with: Astonishment at how picky some women are about men; the different ways of going through life — either satisfied when you meet your criteria or always trying to get the best possible deal — have a huge impact on how you feel about life; your expectations going into any situation dramatically color your experience of that situation.

Rainier cherries are fresh and local; we got a box from the Woodinville Farmer’s Market and I just ate way more than is probably healthy for me. Also apricots, which I’ve only recently been able to eat again after finding half a worm in an apricot years ago. Also bok choy, which is excellent because Ian’s favorite salad is bok choy salad (a recipe similar to this one) and I refuse to buy bok choy — or, at this point, pretty much any produce — from more than 200 miles away.

This Friday my high school friend Zoe is getting married.

This Saturday I’m helping run Go, Dog Go! as part of my AmeriCorps Community Action Project. After that, I’m out of hours for helping, so anything else I do is real volunteering. Please come to Go, Dog Go! if you can to at least say hi. Bring your dog, if you have one.

I met a lady at the park near our house yesterday. Her name was Danielle. She had a 16-month-old Golden Retriever named Mia (or Maya…I forget) who totally charmed me. We — Danielle and me — spent 45 minutes chatting. It was nice getting to know somebody new. Dog people tend to be very nice, and they always love talking about their dogs.

Artemis is at Cascade Bicycle Studio getting a rack put on. It’s taking 3 days. I have faith that some day, I will be able to carry things with my primary bike without hurting my back. In the meantime, the Red Bike and I are bonding. My favorite thing about the Red Bike: Wearing sandals while riding. Mom always said not to, but it’s so comfortable in the summer!

I put 2 coats of off-white paint over the dark dusty rose in the downstairs bathroom. The walls still have a pink tint. Curse you, 1990s color choices!

That’s the news from Lake Wobegone. Tune in the same place, some other time, for the exciting continuation of this thrilling life.

KDOG Project: Success

Day’s Verse:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27

These are pictures from the Kirkland City Council Study Session on off-leash areas. This is the big meeting we were trying to use my door hangers to advertise and encourage people to attend.

Total KDOG member attendance: 37 — too many to fit in the meeting room!

Kirkland City Council Study Session 3

Kirkland City Council Study Session 2

I think I have about 25 door hangers left out of the 750 I received on March 23. Not too shabby for barely 2 weeks of scrambling around.

Somewhat Disappointing

Day’s Verse:
One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.
Acts 16:14 (context)

A couple weeks ago, I spent quite a few hours working really hard on an email newsletter for KDOG, the group I’m doing my Community Action Project with. On Monday, March 29, at 4:05 pm, I triumphantly finished it and emailed it to the KDOG mailing list through my Bicycle Alliance account. I felt a little thrill of excitement at having shared something I worked so very hard on with all those people. I also hoped it would get a few people to come out and help distribute door hangers on Saturday, April 3.

I never heard anything about the newsletter after I sent it out, but I got busy and it slipped my mind.

That is, I forgot about it until Sunday, April 4, when I received an email from one of the KDOG leaders. She asked when I was planning on sending the newsletter out.

As you can imagine, my heart sank. I immediately scrambled around desperately for confirmation that I had, in fact, sent the newsletter. That’s when things started getting strange. I realized that I never received the newsletter to my gmail account, which is the one that gets KDOG notifications. Then, when I checked my work email Sent Items folder, I didn’t have a record of having sent it to the KDOG mailing list. However, I had cc’d my work email on the newsletter, and that email indicated it had been sent to the correct mailing list. Also, the Meetup.com Mailing List page had no record of the newsletter going out last Monday, and the two leaders never got it.

Eventually, through some trial and error, we figured out that Meetup.com only allows email address on the mailing list to send emails to the mailing list. That means that the newsletter I sent out through my work email — which is not registered with Meetup.com — never reached the intended recipients. I never got a notification that anything had gone wrong, or that my email had not arrived at its intended destination. It was only Ian commenting about the different email address thing that made me realize sending it through work might have been a problem.

I re-sent it this morning through my gmail account and immediately got confirmation that it worked. Even though I got it sent out this morning, I spent the entire last week thinking I’d done a great thing when in reality I had completely failed.

I feel very disappointed about this. I could very well have gotten a decent number of people to meet me on Saturday, and maybe have finished getting all the door hangers hung, if the newsletter had gone out as intended. Also, the newsletter talked about the extremely important meeting on April 6, and strongly encouraged KDOG members to attend the meeting. Now it’s such late notice that I doubt my sending it today will make any difference.

On the bright side, at my last count, I have fewer than 100 KDOG door hangers left out of the 750 I originally received. I don’t know what people and businesses have done with them, but I’ve certainly done my part as far as organizing people to distribute door hangers goes. Also, 4 people did come to the Saturday meeting.

This has been a learning experience for me in many ways. Now I know to confirm that the email went out with somebody on the mailing list; to plan events farther in advance and ask businesses for food donations at least 1 month ahead; and that personal connections are the best way to get people to help. Next time I will also post the volunteer opportunities not just on the KDOG Meetup page, but with United Way of King County, other dog groups in the area, and the Kirkland Reporter if possible.

So, even if the newsletter may not have served the purpose I intended, I’ve learned some about organizing events and volunteers. And that’s probably more valuable in the long run than having sent out one particular newsletter.

KDOG

Day’s Verse:
For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.

Isaiah 64:3

Not a radio station, but a nonprofit group!

I think I’ve mentioned my interested in turning a vacant lot in my neighborhood into a park, preferably a dog park, as the Community Action Project I have to do for AmeriCorps.

On Saturday I talked with my friend Karissa, who’s a civil engineer and knows a thing or two about getting projects put together and implemented, about my park idea. She said that I should expect it to take a year or two, depending on whether the permitting had been started, to turn it into a park. Well! I have 10 months as an AmeriCorps intern, so my CAP wouldn’t get finished in that time if I took the project on, but I didn’t feel overly deterred. After all, it’s a very worthwhile project and I like the idea of having a mini-Marymoor closer than Redmond.

Today I spoke with a very informative, knowledgeable woman with SODA, the group that runs the Marymoor off-leash area. She set me straight: One to years is a major underestimate. Many dog parks take four or five years to get implemented, and some take much longer than that. Dog parks are difficult to create because people say, “Why should we have a park just for dogs?” The answer is: “It’s not a park for dogs, it’s a park for people, the same as a ballpark isn’t a park for balls and a bike path isn’t a path for bicycles.”

As it turns out, Kirkland citizens have already formed a group to push for a dog park in my town: KDOG. The effort to create an off-leash area in Kirkland has gone on for the last — gulp — eight years, with little success. The current iteration of the Kirkland off-leash group, however, seems persistent and well worth talking to. Tonight they’re going to be at a Kirkland City Council meeting, and I think I’ll go meet them.

Should be informative, if nothing else. I’ve never been to a City Council meeting before.